Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan has held a meeting with city officials and experts from the HCM City International University and relevant agencies to discuss the problem.
He had earlier visited the My Thuy intersection to survey the traffic situation near the port.
At the meeting a Department of Transport official said his agency has been co-ordinating with the port management and other agencies to find solutions to the congestion, which is badly affecting both businesses and residents in the area. But their efforts have been useless so far, he admitted.
Some 17,000 vehicles enter the port daily, occasionally going up to even 19,000 - 22,000, while the capacity of the main street leading to it, Nguyen Thi Dinh, is not more than 15,000, according to the department.
According to the Vietnam Seaport Development Master Plan, the cargo transported through the port is expected to reach 36 million tonnes per year by 2020. But the volume has exploded, crossing 53 million tonnes last year.
The transport official said many infrastructure works are under construction in the vicinity, worsening a bad situation.
An official from Sai Gon New Port Corporation, the port operator, called for speeding up infrastructure works around the port to ease the congestion.
Besides, authorities should crack down on illegal parking lots and traffic violations, the official said.
Associate Prof. Ho Thanh Phong, the principal of the university, urged city authorities to install a smart traffic system around the Cat Lai Port.
Smart systems gather traffic data, check traffic routes, monitor vehicles and take over traffic lights in case of congestion, he said.
Such systems are in place in the Sai Gon River Tunnel and on Vo Van Kiet Boulevard, he said.
Nhan said: "A smart traffic system is essential and should be installed as soon as possible. Based on traffic data provided by the system, city authorities can find solutions more efficiently and faster.”
He said the transport department should deploy it at traffic hotspots like the Cat Lai Port and Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The university should estimate its cost and co-ordinate with relevant agencies to install the system soon near the port, he said.
He also urged the city to speed up construction of Ring Road 2 and other works to complete them on schedule.
He said the People’s Committee should have smart traffic systems in place all over the city by 2020.